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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Opinion >  Guest Opinion

Community support helps Fairchild thrive

By Col. Ryan Samuelson For The Spokesman-Review

In my 22 years of service to our great country and its Air Force, the support for Fairchild Air Force Base I have witnessed from those who call the Inland Northwest their home is unmatched. You get it.

You support the patriots who have answered our nation’s call to serve. You support efforts to enhance our mission effectiveness. You support our community engagement activities. You support integrating our teammates and their families into your communities. You support your base and are proud of it.

It’s no surprise that nearly 16,000 retired military people live within a 150-mile radius of the base. The area is beautiful. The people are supportive of one another. The communities are focused on tackling their challenges with dignity and respect.

From someone who has lived in 11 states and three countries, I can assure you this area has something special. This is a phenomenally strong community, and I believe only with strong communities can our country truly be strong. It is the community that turns what for many service members might just be another military assignment into a memorable part of one’s military journey.

Believe it or not, this community enhances mission effectiveness and resiliency in our dedicated base team. You care.

Have there been decisions made within the community and at the base over their lifetime together that have challenged and tested our relationship? Of course. Are there open lines of communication, dialogue and a commitment to building enduring relationships dedicated to addressing and solving those challenges? Absolutely! The foundation of the base and community’s integrated existence and partnership is solid. Rock-solid.

This holiday season, I know Team Fairchild – a team made up of active duty Air Force airmen and civilians, patriotic Air National Guard members, dedicated Army Reserve professionals and mission partners who defend our country – is thankful to be serving in a location surrounded by great citizens who support us and “have our backs.” You show it.

We have our nation’s back. We will continue to focus on carrying out the missions our country asks us to accomplish. We will continue to be the best community partners we can be. We will continue to be transparent in the issues we face. We will continue to support our community as much as possible.

As next year marks some milestone anniversaries for the base, we look forward to continuing to build upon the incredible legacy those before us built. With the SkyFest open house at the end of July 2017, we look forward to sharing the base with you. This next year in particular is amazing, with the 70th anniversary of the active duty wing, the 70th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force and the 75th anniversary of the base.

Fairchild Air Force Base is a center of excellence for executing worldwide air refueling and for training our nation’s warriors to return with honor. I truly believe we are also the center of excellence for community partnerships.

So, what’s up with this community? Simple. You get it. You care. You show it.

Col. Ryan Samuelson is the commander of the 92nd Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base.

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